Aquilegia – Promiscuous Cross Pollination

Some of the flowers in my garden aren’t all that picky about their “pollen” partners. They will mate with just about anything in their genus, apparently.


The Aquilegia (Columbine) is one such example of plants that are prolific breeders. The Aquilegia vulgaris is quite common in gardens in many parts of the world. They come in many colors, and each new plant that pops up in my yard has the potential to be a color I’ve not seen before.This one is a pretty pale pink and off white.


This is one of the darker Columbines – shades of purpley burgundy and mauve.

11-columbine3This is an Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Nora Barlow’ – or a close sibling to one, anyhow. The flower petals are quite different from the garden variety Columbine, and the ‘Nora Barlow’ is usually a pinky color.

11-columbine2But now and then a ‘Nora Barlow’ crosses with the garden variety of vulgaris and all of a sudden I have a multi-petal flower in purple! (And in this photo, a big daddy long legs spider too!)

Of course, it is not the flowers fault that they are so promiscuous. The real culprits here are the bees. In the plant world, sex is a Ménage à trois.

8 thoughts on “Aquilegia – Promiscuous Cross Pollination

    1. Hi Magsx2 – The Columbine is a fun plant because I never know what color new little seedling flowers will be!


  1. Gorgeous photos! I refuse to put Columbine in my yard – I had some in a yard when I lived in Minnesota and it was so doggone invasive that it took over every space. It had an annoying habit of growing up inside my other plants so it was almost impossible to get rid of. Yours are truly lovely, though.


    1. Hi SDS – I chop the flowers off my columbine before they go to seed, and that helps to keep them under control!


    1. Hi Dianna – Columbine likes dappled sun or partial shade, but will also grow in sun here. It is Zone 3 hardy and reseeds easily, which makes it a favourite in my part of the world!


  2. The Columbine has attempted to take over my wife’s strawberry patch. So far it is an interesting turf war. Great shots.


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